We have a new member of our family. Folks, meet Paris:
She is a 1.5-2 year old lab mix the color of a really good piece of dark chocolate that we adopted from The Delaware Alliance for Animal Welfare Groups (www.daawgs.org) just over a week ago. She was a stray rescued by them from a shelter in VA where her time was up and she was about to be killed, then remained in their care for quite a while due to what her foster mom (and one of DAAWGS primary organizers) called something like "black dog syndrome" since apparently people are far less likely to show interest in a black dog.
Well let me tell you that their disinterest is our gain. As someone who has adopted and done my best to train seven rescued dogs in the past 30 years, most of which were too damaged to get past some of their significant issues, we have hit the doggie lottery jackpot here. She is without question the most well behaved and naturally patient and sweet dog I've ever had. Mellow. Sweet. CALM! I've never had a calm dog before. Thanks to her foster homes (and possibly some pre-shelter training) she is housebroken, does well on the leash (when not tempted by small furry things like squirrels), understands some basic obedience commands and is quickly learning others. She is every parent's/grandparent's dream with our 2.5 year old granddaughter, who climbs all over her, plays "peek-a-boo" with her ears, attempts to ride her like a horse, and tries to hand-feed her instead of allowing her to eat from her own bowl. Paris just sits patiently through even the most exasperating of our grandaughter's activities and covers her with kisses.
I also wanted to post to put in a plug for Woodstock Chimes (www.chimes.com). I've had their alto Gregorian Chimes in my Amazon wish list for years, based on an original recommendation for their chimes from a musician friend, and finally bought them for myself. The chimes are perfectly tuned. I can't carry a tune in a bucket myself and I don't have any exceptional musical talent, but one thing I can do is identify when something is even slightly out of tune (how I've survived so many elementary school musical productions so far is due only to love). I have seen and tested out dozens of chimes over the years and something is always just a tiny bit off on most of them. But every note of these chimes was tuned to a perfect 8-note chord.
They don't look any different than most chimes that you see out there, but their sound is extraordinary. Their website includes recordings of their different chimes (here's their recording of the chimes I have) but their recordings honestly don't do justice to their sound. I plan to place these in front of my house so that I can hear the chimes from my front porch or when my bedroom window is open, and I plan to add their baritone Gregorian chimes to my wish list to expand on my front-yard wind orchestra, and save up my pennies since I'm finally convinced of how much they are worth their cost.